Protesters demand compensation for Gadani fire victims

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PESHAWAR:(Parliament Times) Activists of various bodies of traders, labourers and political parties have expressed grave concern over the death of 27 labourers and injuries to scores of others when an oil tanker caught fire at the Gadani ship-breaking yard in Balochistan, and demanded adequate compensation for the families of the victims.

The demand was raised by the participants of a protest rally held outside the Peshawar Press Club on Tuesday. Activists of Mazdoor Kisan Party, Communist Party of Pakistan, National Party, Railways Workers Union, Pakistan Wapda Hydro Workers Union, Almi Pashto Congress, Pakhtun Awareness Movement, transporters unions and students participated in the demonstration.

In a joint statement issued to the media, these organisations demanded of the government to pay Rs 5million to the family of each deceased person and Rs 1.5million to each wounded in addition to provision of quality medical treatment to the injured workers.

The participants also urged the government to ensure protection to the labourers at the workplace and establish international level burn centres in different cities in order to ensure provision of timely treatment to the burns victims.

Urging the government to hold judicial inquiry into the case, the protesters also demanded awarding strict punishment to the people involved in the tragic incident.

A protest organiser, Shakeel Wahidullah Khan told media persons on the occasion that the successive governments had failed to provide jobs to the people, forcing the educated people to earn a living while risking their lives.

He said employers were constantly pushing their workers into extremely risky work conditions and avoided taking measures for their protection, but the government had turned a blind eye to the grave issue.

Afzal Khamoosh said that factories and coal mines in Pakistan had become graveyards for workers and the government was reluctant to take action against the contractors who were earning millions of rupees as commission every month.

He urged the workers to join hands for raising forceful voice for protection of their rights and to protect themselves against the injustices and exploitation.

He warned that if the government failed to pay the compensation to the families of the victims and those sustained injuries then the workers of various bodies of labourers and political parties would launch a country-wide protest campaign.